When I was young I dreamed of marrying a rugged cowboy, the Marlboro kind without the smoking or chewing part. We would have a ranch house with zillions of horses I could pick from when ever I wanted to ride, with my dogs happily running beside me. My ranch house would have a veranda that wrapped around the house with rocking chairs that welcomed visitors.
Well, I married a cowboy, but my cowboy rides waves, not horses. Although he has learned to love to ride now that he has met me, but it wasn’t his first love. The waves and photography were his first love. He came from Florida not Montana and he didn’t have doggies grazing on the open prairie. Yet, I fell in love with the surfer, not the rancher. We moved to Minnesota not Wyoming or Montana, we do not and will not see a wrapped veranda any time soon, and our yard will barely contain our kids, much less a herd of forty horses. So with a bit of a heavy heart I walk on from a dream that still to this day makes my heart sore at the adventure of it all.
So, what happens when my dreams don’t match up with God’s plans? Well for one there is grief, I think it is very important let yourself feel that grief and to let God help you process it. To deny the grief process is to deny what is really going on in my heart, it is denying what meant so much to me. It is also important to look at the timeline of my life thus far and to know that for each stage God has had a plan and a purpose and for each stage it has been for my good. It is learning to trust that God’s plan for right now does not mean he has forsaken my dreams altogether. I think it is also important for me to reevaluate and allow my dreams to change if my heart and desires have changed. Sometimes I think I hold so tightly to a dream and the loss of it, that I don’t stop to realize that I’ve changed and with that change God has graciously re-charted my course for my good.
Another important factor I have found is sometimes I can get so bogged down in what I am being denied or think I am being denied that I can lose sight that I could be actively doing something to achieve my dream. I get so lost in the grief of thinking I have to let it go that I can’t see that if I stopped throwing my fit I could start praying about it and see where the Lord leads it. I have learned that God cares for me, he cares that I can’t find a missing sock, he cares that my cornbread isn’t turning out and puff it turns out, he cares that I miss riding horses, and that sometimes town life seems to suck my soul out. He cares and he cares deeply for me, when I turn my desires over to him, he often times comes up with an even more amazing plan than I could ever imagine! Sometimes he says no, sometimes he says maybe, and sometimes he says give it 5, 10, 15 years and then I’ll make it happen.
We are moving into a three bedroom, two bathroom house in town or at least that is the goal as of now. Hopefully, we will have some rabbits and a dog, but our yard won’t have room for a horse, much less a herd. My surfer husband will not have a ocean, he will have frozen tundra and a frozen solid lake from which to ice fish from. This is not what he had dreamed either, but it is the dream he has learned to not only embrace, but to find it as an extreme blessing.
When the grieving of a dream is grieved and given over to the Lord, it turns from sorrow into joy and it turns a rock into a diamond. Sometimes it is the laying down of a dream that brings the birth of new dreams and sometimes gives birth to the same dream, but in different form, a form that was so much better than I could have come up with. Life isn’t how I pictured it would go, but it is so much richer, more delicious, and I can truly say I love my life, I can truly say, I am glad to give up my dreams for God’s plan. He truly does have plans to prosper me and not harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future. He truly does love and care for me!
I do still dream of owning an acreage with room enough for horses, with fruit trees and fruit bushes all over, enough room for a large veggie garden and an herb garden. I dream of having chickens (even though they totally freak me out), rabbits, and three dogs. I do still have similar dreams, but they have changed and shifted over the years, I’m ok with an acreage and not a large ranch. I am head over heals in love with my hippie, surfing husband, and I am madly in love with my savior Jesus Christ, because he truly does care for me, he truly cares for my hopes and my dreams. I will lay down my dreams in exchange for the peace and joy with going with my Abba’s plans. He truly does care for me!